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Local Fisheries Groups Across Europe To Discuss ‘Smart’ Solutions To Coastal Challenges In Bantry Next Month

14th March 2019
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Bantry will host the meeting of FLAGs from across Europe from 2-14 April Bantry will host the meeting of FLAGs from across Europe from 2-14 April Photo: Pam Brophy/Geograph

Fisheries Local Action Groups (FLAGs) from across Europe will be meeting in Bantry next month to discuss “smart” ways to tackle coastal challenges.

The Smart Coastal Areas seminar, hosted by FLAG South and Bord Iascaigh Mhara at the Westlodge Hotel from Tuesday 2 to Thursday 4 April, aims to provide ideas and guidance on ‘smart’ development — including activities, development models and ways of working to boost the fisheries industry and coastal regions in an innovative way.

In 2017, the GDP of the Irish seafood sector was estimated at €1.15 billion. More than 14,000 people are employed in Ireland’s seafood sector, many of whom work and live in rural coastal communities.

Fisheries and coastal areas are impacted by factors such as depopulation, ageing population, climate change and economic decline.

The EU’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) was set up to support initiatives by local fisheries communities through Community-Led Local Development (CLLD). FLAGs can use this money to implement projects that support sustainable small-scale fisheries and aquaculture production, and coastal communities.

However, funding is not the only answer, as creativity and strategic action is also needed.

The Smart Coastal Areas seminar will highlight:

  • Smart partnerships (creating win-win situations between different interest groups)
  • Smart resource use (optimising local resources and production systems)
  • Smart financing (reaching small-scale beneficiaries: micro-credit, etc)
  • Smart services (adapting services to ensure their viability: smart harbours, connecting remote areas, etc)

The seminar will include presentations on FLAG projects in EU countries that demonstrate smart approaches to rural sustainability and development. Local examples from the Cork coast are Courtmacsherry Community Shop and Schull Bait Bins, both supported by Ireland’s FLAG South.

Also included with the seminar will be a field visit to local fisheries-related businesses as well as Whiddy Island to view the progress of a tourism-related project.

Published in Coastal Notes, Fishing
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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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